Saturday, March 10, 2012

Springtime at our doorsteps!

In France, we were thaught that Spring arrives on March 21st... Well, Irish people diagree with me and every year, they argue with me that spring starts on Februay 1st!!! Scientists would say that  it is springtime in March in the northern hemosphere, on the 21st, at the Spring Equinox.  See, the Irish used to celebrate St Bridgid's Day  halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. St Bridgid's festival was pagan and was observed in Gaelic Ireland during the Middle Ages, referring to Irish mythology. Many parents have come to the classroom dropping their kids and laughing at my stubborness: at circle time, I would keep repeating to the kids that it was still winter (thought their parents had told them otherwise!). Parent would tease me and kept joking that it must have been a French thing!!! Ha ha ha!! So, I struck a deal and we usually introduce the theme of Spring in our classroom around the beginning of March. So this is exactly what we are at this week!

The first thing I do is to update our season board (see my post on our winter board here) and put new posters and pictures all around the classroom.

Then we talk about all the changes that happen outside in our garden when Spring time arrives. And at the moment, we are focusing on the weather: wind, rain, rainbows etc.. This week, I wanted the children to learn bit more about rainbows.  I looked for the best way to explain them how a rainbow happens and I thought of a few science experiments to do with them. I started by asking them "have you ever seen a rainbow in the sky?... Was it a rainy day?... What did it look like? ...Can you name the colours?". 

Reading books about rainbows is a way to begin your lesson. Here are a few suggested titles:
Rainbow and You, by Edwin C. Krupp
A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman
We read Over the Rainbow by E.Y. Harburg. I love this book. It comes with a CD with one of my favourite songs "Over the rainbow". A beautiful rendition. It really touched my heart and those of the children. I read the book to the children wih music in the background (the book came with a CD). I asked them to close their eyes and to imagine they were flying on the rainbow. "What can you see now?", "where are you now?" etc... They ABSOLUTELY loved that exercise. It was so much fun. We then played the song "Over the rainbow" and I used the book to illustrate each verse of the song... I really loved this activity..

Over the Rainbow 

Then,  introduced the children with a little bit of background knowledge on the rainbow. Only a little bit. No need to go into details at their age. I explained them that a rainbow is a colored light we can see in the sky. And that light appears when the sun beams over falling raindrops. To demonstrate my point, I used a glass prism to show them what happens.

I also put a little mirror / glass prism in a glass filled with water and placed the glass by the window, playing with the light until we capture a rainbow in our classroom. I had given the children an empty small baby jar each and as I held the mirror in the glass, I told them to try to capture the rainbow in their jar.

I am sorry but I couldn't catch the rainbow when I took the picture! But the kids saw it!!

I am so sorry now that I didn't take another picture when they were trying to catch the rainbow! What fun!!! So much laughter!! Obviously, they got nothing. So I told them we were going to make our own rainbow. I had planned to dye some rice beforehand with food colourants for the children to pour layer by layer in a baby jar. Unfortunately, I heard that my granny had passed away in France and I had to leave everything behind (to the capable hands of my assistant Rachel) and flew home to be with my family...... Anyway, when I came back, as I had very little time left to finish our acitivities on rainbows, this is what I did: I had lots of wooden curtain rings in my house. I got them out, sprayed them all in white. I precut some colourful ribbons I also had in my "magic bag" and showed the children how to loop them around the rings.

I tied up up neatly and Voila!!!! The children seemed quite happy witht the results! I don't know if their parents understood what it was meant to be, but I am sure they told them!!! ..

I surely do hop that my Gran is flying on one of these beautiful rainbows now!!

Always in my heart, Mémé  .....

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